Thursday, October 15, 2009

Washington DC trip

Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plan I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

What a trip!!! Had it's adventures and quite a whirlwind of a trip but interesting. I was so exhausted when I got home. To start off, I had an unexpected adventure in just getting to DC. I left my home town around 7:20 am to go to Dallas. It was raining when we left so the pilot took a different and longer route to get to Dallas. Before we were to arrive there, the window in the cockpit cracked which made it unsafe to continue so we made an emergency landing in Waco. They didn't have any planes for us to take (this made our newspaper news but it was wrong for it stated that passengers took flights from there but we didn't ) so they put all of us including the pilot and crew on a bus to Dallas. Of course, that means most of us missed out connecting flights including me. I was able to get another flight at 12:50 (my first one was at 10:20) and arrived in DC at 4:40. Well, I was to be at a meeting in DC at 4 pm so of course, I missed the advocacy and training meeting. I took the metro from the airport to a station close to the hotel. Had to walk to the hotel about 2 1/2 long blocks. When I first got out of the metro station, I was a little confused on which direction to go so I asked someone standing at a light and they pointing me in the right direction. I made it to the hotel at 5:55. So I quickly went to my room, changed shoes and put on some lipstick and went back downstairs to make it to the dinner at 6 pm. I walked in the banquet hall and people were already getting their dinner and milling about. I asked a man where Jenna (the lady that arranged my trip there and who I contacted that i was late) but she wasn't in the room yet. I realized people were getting their dinner by tables. For a moment, I felt so totally out of place and just wanted to cry but got up my courage and got dinner then looked for a place to sit. I noticed a table with only 2 women so asked if I could join them. One lady, Judy, was so sweet so I sat next to her. She and I became friends for the rest of our stay there. Thanks Judy for your kindness and friendship!!! :) The other lady sitting there was sick with a temp of 102. Great, I thought, when I am trying to stay away from people with sickness. I really felt sorry for her though. Some other people came over to the table and I met the young women who were putting this together. They were so young--I was quite amazed but so sweet and enthusiastic about what they were doing. The Access to Medical Imaging Coalition (the group I was with) hired this company to arrange this meeting with legislators, press conference, and the whole trip for us. These young women worked for this company and this is what they do all the time. These ladies explained a little on what I missed at the meeting so at least I sorta of knew what I was to do. After dinner I went to my room (I didn't have a roomate so was all alone) and I read all the papers they gave me and then rehearsed my 'speech' including some of the points they wanted us to make. Went to bed late since I was not used to that time zone. lol. The next morning, we left hotel by taxi cabs and went to Capitol Hill Club for breakfast. I rode in a cab with a lady from Indiana and a dr. from arkansas. The dr. is a radiologist and he was one of the speakers at the press conference. I later found out from a lady who lives in the same town as he does that he is the one who pioneered the breast MRI!!! Wish I had known that for I would have told him how grateful I am to him then for that is what 'saved' my life. I told the lady to tell him my story and she said would. Breakfast was great. I sat with Judy and many others. It was interesting to see the different kinds of cancer people had who were there.
There were lots of colon cancer survivors and they even have this calendar called "Colonar" and there were pictures of survivors showing off their scars. I was also amazed how young many of these survivors were. We had a few older ones but many were close to my age and younger. After breakfast, we walked to the Rayburn building for a press conference. Everytime you go into these government you have to be scanned. They had given all of us T-shirts to wear at the press conference which made quite a statement. There were probably about 40 or more of us. I was interviewed by one of the young women to tell my story and it was in front of a camera. I was nervous but it was fun. During the press conference, we had several speakers--first one was the man head of the Access to Medical Imaging Coalition, then the radiologis I mentioned earlier, then a cardiac dr., then some survivors that are in charge of cancer groups--one for colon cancer, one for liver cancer, and one for pulmonary fibrosis. I had to leave then to go to my meeting with a legislator. I was in a group with 3 other people from Texas and we talked to Mike Burgess from Lewisville/Ft Worth area. He was one of the 2 Rebublicans that was to be talked to and was supportive already to our cause so we were mainly there to thank him and encourage him to continue to stay that way which he assured us he would. He only had 15 minutes so we had to talk quickly. We each shared our story. I thought he was getting a little emotional when I told him my story. He was so nice and caring. He had lost his boss just last year to cancer so understood what we were going through. After my meeting with him, I was on my own to do whatever until I had to fly home. It seems weird that I was there for only one meeting and the press conference but whatever, they paid my expenses. I had made arrangements to meet with Judy to go visit museums. While walking, we met up with another lady who Judy had met in her group. This lady had a liver transplant so she told us her story. It is amazing that she is alive today and looking so good. I talked to her later for we rode the metro together to the airport. She left us to see the art museum and we went on to the Holocaust museum which was quite a far from where we started. We were wearing our dress shoes so our feet were hurting. I now have blisters from all that walking. Ouch!!! We ate lunch at the Museum Cafe right next to the Holocaust Museum. I think we were in the museum about an hour and then I needed to head back to the Capitol Hill club to get my suitcase (they stored our suitcases there in a room and hired a lady to watch over them. she had to stay there all day--what a boring job. lol). We took the metro back to the Capitol Hill and the metro station was right in front of the club. Yea!!!! Judy had another meeting with a legislator so we said our goodbyes. I was to ride the metro with a lady from Indiana (the one I rode in the cab with ) but I never did see her. My flight home was uneventful. When I got to Dallas airport at 7:45 pm., my boarding pass for flight to my hometown was at 8:05 but I thought it was to leave at 8:35 so I thought I had 20 minutes to find my gate. I really went fast to find the gate and when I got there , they were having some confusion on which plane was leaving there but turned out to be my town. And it was to leave at 8:35. Whew, that gave me time to go to the restroom and get something to eat since I hadn't had dnner yet. Got home at 10:30 and just straight to bed. My husband wasn't home for he had a sleep study being done. The trip was interesting, I met and heard so many different cancer survivor stories and I learned how to talk to a legislators. The lady with the liver transplant didn't get to talk to her congresswoman for the lady was stuck in a meeting in the capitol and this liver transplant lady and her group went into the capitol. They had to have a picture ID taken and all kinds of stuff done just to get in. Wow!!! Anyway, I'm glad I went but glad to be home.

Sorry for all the mistakes but for some reason if I try to correct them today it erases everything behind it. OH,

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